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Aug 15, 2011 09:08 PM

anniversary in NY: Daniel dinner & EMP lunch...or EMP dinner & Jean Georges lunch

Hi everyone,

My wife and I will be visiting NY for 2 days in September for our anniversary. We're foodies from SF (we've been to Cyrus, French Laundry, Coi, Saison), and we're really excited to check out the best that NY has to offer.

We're deciding between two options, and would really appreciate your help:
Dinner at Eleven Madison Park, and lunch the next day at Jean Georges
Dinner at Daniel, and lunch the net day at Eleven Madison

Dinner will be for the day of our actual anniversary. We'll be staying just a few blocks from Eleven Madison.

We considered Le Bernardin, but decided it was too seafood heavy. And we would have considered Per Se, but it's very pricey, and feel like it's an easy one to skip since the French Laundry is close enough to us.

thanks in advance!

Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

Jean Georges
1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

Le Bernardin
155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

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  1. Last week I went to JG and Daniel. If you're looking for a more romantic experience, I would go with Daniel. The room is simply gorgeous and the service was more consistent. I liked JG's food slightly more, but I also think it's a little less accessible.

    I haven't been to EPM, but their new menu design has frustrated some. You'll want to do some reading on the topic to make sure it's right for you.

    You've narrowed your choices to some great restaurants! Congratulations!

    1. I'd do dinner at Daniel, and lunch at Eleven Madison Park.

      I particularly love Eleven Madison Park at lunch time, with the light streaming through those huge windows.

      Eleven Madison Park
      11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

      1. It all depends on what you're looking for.

        EMP is, in my opinion, much more relaxed, more fun, more celebratory, and more personable than JG. If you're looking for more personal service on the anniversary night, for the restaurant to be part of making it a special night, then I'd go for EMP. If, on the other hand, you want more formal, less personally involved service, I'd say JG. That's not to say JG's service is bad, but I don't think you're guaranteed the personal touches that are fairly standard at EMP. At JG, it hugely depends on who your captain is and whether you "click". In my experience, service at JG can be quite cold and formal (with certain captains), and other times it's very warm, friendly, and and relaxed. It's always the latter at EMP.

        If you're just looking at food, it may be better to do JG for dinner and EMP for lunch. EMP has almost the exact same menu options at lunch and dinner, but JG's lunch and dinner offerings are completely different. You can only get the JG classics at dinner, so if you're looking for the all-out food experience, then it would make more sense to have dinner at JG and experience all they have to offer.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ricardo87

          Thanks everyone for the advice! My wife and I looked at your comments, as well as other recent EMP reviews on chowhound. We ultimately decided: we wanted to go to dinner (our anniversary day) at the place we were most excited about, and for that night we didn't want it to be too stuffy.

          So, we decided on EMP for dinner on our anniversary night, and JG for lunch. I know EMP has been a bit controversial, but we're willing to take a chance, and it sounds like a fun place with really interesting food. Now, the only decision to be made is tasting menu or not :)


          1. re: ak45

            oops, didn't see this before I posted below. a VERY good choice!

        2. For me this is not even close: dinner at EMP and lunch at Jean Georges.

          The last time I ate at Daniel was in July. I was there with four other people and we all did the tasting menu. Because their tasting menu has choices at each stage -- and we had a couple of herbivores with us -- I tried a very large portion of the menu. Nothing was better than good and a few things were actually bad. I just assume that it was an off night in the kitchen because even places with a substantially less impressive pedigree (and even Daniel on previous visits) generally have at least one thing on the menu that is excellent. As if the bad food wasn't enough, service was laughably bad. Indeed, at one point we made a joke about how long it would take me to get another drink. I literally gave up trying to enjoy myself after a 40 minute dry spell between courses when servers were actively avoiding our table. Had I been the one paying, we would have left. Every single meal that I have had at either Jean Georges or EMP has been better than every single meal that I have had at Daniel. I will never go back, even on someone else's dime.

          As for EMP, I actually had dinner there about the exact same time as Daniel, though that meal was just future mrs. nmp and myself. without exaggeration, every bite of food at that dinner was better than the best bite of food we had at Daniel. I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to have dinner at EMP so that you can have dinner at Daniel.

          Lunch at JG is a very good deal. You much consider a lunch at Per Se (which I believe has a cheaper option) if it is a weekend. it has a different feel than FL and is very good. you might also try The Modern or Le Barnardin for lunch. Even though the latter is seafood heavy, if you can just have fish and the like for a lunch, it is better seafood than anything on the west coast.

          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          Jean Georges
          1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

          2 Replies
          1. re: nmprisons


            I laughed as I read your description of the service you didn't receive at Daniel. As you and regulars on this board know, our last time there in in October '07 was a service disaster. The food, however, was excellent. While we will probably go again sometime, as you can see, we haven't exactly been rushing.


            1. re: RGR

              Yeah. Had it just been the terrible service, I probably would have tried again. Probably grabbed a seat at the bar after work one night and tried to work through the menu to find the good stuff.

              But I left completely bewildered at the lack of even decent food. Nearly everything was dramatically under-seasoned, some stuff was just an over-conceptualized mess, and others tasted like they had been good 40 minutes earlier when it was time to bring them to us, but terrible by the time they actually came. The sweets at the end were very good, though (except the Madeleines, which were not warm). It was undoubtedly the least tasty meal my fiance or I have had at any NYT 3 or 4 star restaurant (and we have been to nearly all of them multiple times). I just couldn't bring myself to pay those prices for potentially bad (and, again, by bad I don't mean no up to expectations, but actually bad) food.

              Good news is that I have to come to NYC next month . . . lunch at EMP is is!

          2. I very much applaud your decision. I was going to urge you to do dinner at EMP and lunch at J-G. J-G does a very nice lunch and EMP shines at night. Daniel is fine but I'd say is the weakest of the triad. To me, you made the right choice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: DutchOenophile

              Thanks again! I appreciate the confirmation that we made a good decision. Honestly, we were feeling that no matter what we decided on, we would be excited about and enjoy.